Now a robust 15!
1. Mike Huckabee peaked two weeks too early, as Mitt Romney narrowly wins the Iowa caucuses on the GOP side. A resurgent John McCain wins the New Hampshire primaries over Romney. In late January, Romney wins Michigan and Nevada over McCain, and finishes close second to Huckabee in South Carolina (McCain fourth). It’s enough to make Romney the prohibitive favorite for the GOP nomination. Rudy Giuliani’s “wait until Florida and February 5th” rope-a-dope strategy ends up being just dopey, as it gives his opponents a month of free media coverage. On the Democratic side, second choice John Edwards scores an upset win in Iowa with Hillary Clinton coming in second. Clinton rebounds in New Hampshire and proceeds to pretty much run the table, save for favorite son victories by Edwards and Barack Obama in their respective home states.
2. The Dallas Cowboys will win the Super Bowl in an upset over the New England Patriots, 35-28. MVP Tony Romo throws for four TDs and parties the night away with Jessica Simpson (nudge nudge wink wink).
3. The Hollywood writers’ strike is resolved in February just in time for pilot season. Lost and 24 return before the summer.
4. The nation’s relationship with Pakistan is a foreign policy priority for the last year of the Bush administration. The administration announces a “surge” of troops in Afghanistan, outwardly to help clamp down on Al-Qaeda in that country, but also to keep an eye on civil unrest in its teetering neighbor.
5. The University of Arkansas’s Darren McFadden is the top pick in the NFL draft.
6. Ron Paul is the last challenger out of the GOP presidential race.
7. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, due for release May 22, 2008, is surprisingly good. The Dark Knight is the blockbuster of the summer.
8. The Ottawa Senators win the Stanley Cup, marking the first time a Canadian team has won Canada’s game since the 1993 Montreal Canadians.
9. The Boston Celtics win their first NBA title in 22 years, four games to two, over the Phoenix Suns.
10. The Beijing Olympic games raise controversy in the American media about Chinese manufacturing practices and the nation’s human rights violations. Articles about China’s emerging economic power create a stream of Asiaphobia not seen in the U.S. since Japanese businesses bought up U.S. real estate in the late 1980s. Conservative think tanks wonder if fear of “Chinoislamofascism” can get voters to the polls.
11. Mitt Romney names Fred Thompson his running mate. Hillary Clinton names Bill Richardson her running mate.
12. Bonus repeat prediction: Dick Cheney and Fidel Castro* will remain in office; Osama bin Laden will remain at large. (*barely)
13. The subprime mortgage crunch and housing crisis will remain in effect until at least third quarter 2008. Those unfortunate enough to be selling houses in 2008 will have to accept taking a loss if they want their houses to move. Home values drop another 5 percent nationally, with double-digit losses in the previously most overheated local markets. Foreclosures jump again. The stock market is volatile and ends up flat for the year. Jim Cramer’s head explodes on Mad Money.
14. Crude oil prices hit $105 per barrel over the Labor Day travel weekend.
15. The next president of the United States is Hillary Clinton. Mark Levin’s head explodes on his radio show.
Bonus: People who use the noun Democrat as an adjective (as in “Democrat party”) will continue to tick me off. Good polls do not justify bad grammar.